WWF flow a river through parliament to put the environment at the heart of politics
On the 17th of October, WWF celebrated the opening of their ‘A river runs through it’ exhibition, attended by local Members of Parliament from across the UK. The spectacle included a real life riverbank in the Upper Waiting Hall – a busy thoroughfare for Members of Parliament – alongside an interactive ‘pooh sticks’ map and collaborative artwork by local children and school groups. Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle attended the exhibit and spoke to WWF specialists about the pressure facing the River Rother and what he could do support the campaign. The exhibit supported a week of events that celebrate the UK’s unique countryside and asking politicians to support the restoration of our environment through the Brexit process.
The exhibit puts nature at the heart of Parliament to highlight the issues that English and Welsh water systems are facing, such as growing pollution from rural areas and sewage run off. This is following the recent WWF report, Flushed Away, that found 80% of rivers in England and Wales are unhealthy, and up to 40% are polluted with sewage.
The #NatureNeedsYou campaign has previously worked with local Angling Trusts and River Trusts to deliver events to promote the campaign. More than 4000 people in England and Wales have already written to their MP through a WWF email action.
Campaign Manager, Barbara Cornejo Sesnic, has commented:
“The wildlife that lives in our rivers is in crisis. According to the 2016 Living Planet Report, populations of river and other freshwater wildlife have declined by 81% since 1970, faster than any other species group on the planet, and 13% of freshwater species are threatened with extinction in the UK. Despite big improvements over recent decades, four out of five rivers in England and Wales are failing to reach the required health standards. This is a result of pollution from farms and sewage, and unsustainable abstraction.
“We greatly appreciate the Houses of Parliament hosting us and for so many members of parliament attending. This display places the environment firmly at the centre of the Brexit process and makes the health of our rivers an undeniable priority to everyone. The WWF is calling for the UK Government to place nature at the heart of politics, to restore and safeguard the environment for generations to come.”